• Poplar Grove National Cemetery Luminary Event (photo courtesy of Joanne Williams)

    Petersburg

    National Battlefield Virginia

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  • No Parking Available in the Eastern Front Unit August 2

    Free shuttle service will transport all visitors to and from the Eastern Front Unit on August 2 during 150th Anniv. of the Battle of the Crater events. Shuttles will depart from the Farmer's Market located at 9 Old St. in Old Towne Petersburg.

  • Eastern Front Unit Trails Closed to Horse Traffic on August 2

    Those who would like to ride horses at the park on Aug. 2 are encouraged to use the trails at Five Forks in Dinwiddie County as other trails will be closed to horses that day while the park commemorates the 150th Anniv. of the Battle of the Crater.

Pictionary: C

Cannon

Napoleon Howitzer

"Cannon" is the best term for all firearms larger than small arms. It is a metal tube placed on a mount. Cannons were generally made of bronze or iron. The basic artillery piece of the war, on both sides, was the Napoleon, a smoothbore, muzzle loading, 12-pounder-gun howitzer.

Howitzers were lighter and shorter, fired a relatively heavy shell with a light charge, and usually had a powder chamber smaller than the bore of the gun.

The twelve-pounder smoothbore "Napoleon" model 1857, was a gun howitzer, being both shorter and lighter than the older 12-pounder gun, but using the same powder charge.

Canteen

Union Canteen Confederate Canteen

The canteen was the vessel in which the soldier on active service carried his drinking water or some other refreshing liquid. Canteens were made of several materials, but wood and tin were by far the most usual in this period. Some were also covered in wool cloth. The strap allowed it to be worn over the right shoulder opposite the cartridge box.

Carbine

Enfield Muzzleloading Carbine
Richmond Sharps Breechloading Carbine
Spencer Repeating Carbine

Carbines were well-suited to cavalry operations. They were shorter and handier than rifles and weighed considerably less. Some models were breechloading repeaters which had a quick rate of fire and were fairly accurate.

Cartridge Box

Cartridge Box

The regulation infantry cartridge box of the period was made of black bridle leather and contained inserts to carry the paper cartridges. The cap pouch held the percussion caps necessary for firing the rifle. The most common way to carry the cartridge box was by means of a leather belt over the left shoulder which permitted the box to rest on the rear of the soldier's right hip. A somewhat more convenient method was to attach the cartridge box to a waist belt.

Cavalry

Cavalry (Library of Congress)

An army unit mounted on horseback used mostly for scouting, raiding, and protecting the flanks of the army. Cavalry regiments at Petersburg saw most of their fighting at the Battle of Five Forks, where Union soldiers finally broke the Confederate lines. At this point, the Union objective, the South Side Railroad, was within their grasp.

Company

A company is the smallest unit in an organized army, containing about 100 men led by a captain and two lieutenants.

Corps

A corps is a unit of the army. The corps was a large military unit composed of three divisions led by a lieutenant general (Confederacy) or a major general (Union).

Chevaux-de-frise

Chevaux-de-frise
U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, PA

Chevaux-de-frise was a defensive structure situated in front of earthworks. They were logs that measured about 12 feet long and 10 inches thick, drilled through every foot at right angles for sharpened stakes which projected 3 feet. Chevaux-de-frise were most common among the Confederate fortifications.



Did You Know?

Lesser Siren

Hatcher's Run beaver pond in Petersburg's Five Fork's Unit is home to two unusual amphibians. The Amphiuma (Amphiuma means) can grow up to 3.25 feet and live almost 30 years. The Lesser Siren (Siren intermedia) is the most primitive salamander still in existence.